GUEST EDITOR

HELEN RICE

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Helen Rice is a Charleston-born-and-raised designer, businesswoman, and creative. With businesses spanning across the realms of branding, real estate, and design, she is likely the most down-to-earth mogul you know. Keep scrolling to read the interview, or check out Helen's picks and website below.

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Helen's wearing: RACHEL COMEY Fond Sweatshirt in Dirty White, Norte Top in Red; LA COLLECTION Elisabeth Skirt in Off White; LEMAIRE Souris Flat Classic Derbies; VINTAGE LA ROSE Drilled Diamond Necklace in 14k Yellow Gold; CADDIS Root Cause Analysis Glasses in Hey

TYLER MCCORMACK

HELEN RICE

TM: Could you tell us a little bit about your background? When did you know that you wanted to pursue design?

HR: The creative studio I co-founded, Fuzzco, is turning 20 years old next year. I've always been interested in art, architecture, interiors and design in general. I wasn't formally trained as a designer (but I do have a degree in Studio Art), and I don't have a business background, but I love solving problems and being in a constant state of figuring things out. There wasn't ever a lightbulb moment where I decided I wanted to do something in the design world, it just naturally happened as I continually pursued things I was interested in. It's the case of starting to do something, and working at it really hard (and having a healthy amount of luck, good timing and talented collaborators), and it becoming a real thing. This is how Fuzzco, Pretend Store (Fuzzco's design store), Pretend Foundry (Fuzzco's font foundry), Serious Buildings (real estate–renovations and interior design) and Ponytail (lifestyle shop) all came to be.

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Featured: products from Ponytail, Helen's lifestyle shop

TM: Do you have a design philosophy?

HR: Utility, simplicity, beauty and relevance.

TM: You have an impressive portfolio of beautiful work across the businesses you've co-founded. Is there a standout moment or project that you would consider a highlight or favorite?

HR: Launching Ponytail was an incredible pleasure. It was a shit load of work, but I never lost steam for it.

shopponytail.com
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Helen's wearing: MARNI Blue Cardigan in China; TANAKA Skate Jean Trouser in Mid Blue; AUTRY Medalist Low Sneaker in White; with set dressings from Ponytail and Helen's personal collections

TM: What is your creative process like?

HR: I always start by thinking broadly and tangentially so that I don't box the concept or direction in too quickly. It's helpful to build an intimate world in your mind about whatever you're doing so that the idea/design/room/experience has depth and texture. The more of a story something has, even if you're making it up, the more you have to draw from throughout the life of a project to make it feel real and relatable.

TM: We at Hampden are obsessed with your style: how do you approach getting dressed?

HR: I feel like I've been dressing the same way my whole life - pretty gender neutral and slightly tatty. I could wear a t-shirt tucked into jeans everyday but these days I'm looking for more range. I love well-tailored clothes and pairing something fancy with something else with a hole in it to keep it real.

TM: What influences your personal style?

HR: When I was a kid I watched a lot of British TV shows like Masterpiece Theater. I was obsessed with Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes and wanted to wear classic, well-tailored clothes like he did. I love menswear and clothing made to last.

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Helen's wearing: CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS Kuhra Top in White; MARION PARKE Gigi Slide Loafer in Black; FARMER'S MARKET Onion

TM: OK, last question, but certainly not the least: what's your favorite restaurant in Charleston?

HR: Oh man, do I really have to choose? Today, it's The Ordinary. The martini service and their Smoked Fish Pâté are always the first things I order.

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